Gay Media Swinging....Up

David Kiley

One could get the idea listening to Fox News or right-wing radio on a regular basis that advertisers might shy away from advertising in gay media or around gay themes. But if we are to believe nukbers assembled by an annual report complied by ad agency Prime Access and gay media representative firm Rivendell Media, gay is on the upswing.

Overall ad spending in gay and lesbian publications in 2004 went to $207 million, up 28% from a year earlier. It’s the biggest increase since 2000. Could the blast furnace of gay bashing from conservative groups be as effective as—oh, I don’t know—campaigning for private accounts in Social Security?

Not only are gay media getting more business more ads are turning up with gay themes. Over 150 Fortune 500 brands were active in he gay consumer market llast year, up from 72 in 2000, said the report. For the first time, a majority—59%--of ads were created specifically for gay media, as opposed to running the same ads in gay magazines that run in Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart or Businessweek.

Too funny is the assertion in this report that ads from wedding related services, including consultants, planners and lawyers contributed to a big surge in ads. Among companies that have long advertisied gay specific messages to gay media include Ikea, Jaguar (Ford), Subaru, Budweiser, Coors, Diageo, Levi Strauss, United Airlines and others.

With the politico/corporate climate being what is, though, (Microsoft apparently being bullied into withdrawing support for a gay rights bill in its corporate homestate of Washington,) one wonders how far away we are from advertisers being bullied out of gay media by conservative forces with advertiser business before them. Viacom has launched a new gay neywork, called Logo. Could cable operators be pressured not to carry it? They certainly have a lot of business before Congress. We’ll watch and see.

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